Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken


My romance with Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes is the gift that keeps giving.  I love his bold flavors, his generously spiced meats and veggies. A master at adventurous pairings, he always surprises my palate. His treatise on food in Jerusalem makes me want to eat my way through the Holy Land. I avidly follow and learn. Adapt and adopt his techniques. He really is my new friend in the kitchen! 

It's chicken time again! It must be a touch of the sun because I think I am warming up to chicken. I do know that this chicken will be one tasty bird as it acquires those Mediterranean flavors after a long soak in lemon, onions and orange juice. I want to stay true to his recipe. I really do. But I don't have some of the ingredients on hand. So with a regretful shrug I substitute. No fresh fennel, some onion in place. No Arak, just Galliano in its place. No oranges, only lemons. Now that I have taken his recipe into my hands, I proceed cautiously.

I clean the chicken. Against my better judgement I decide to leave the skin on as the recipe deems it best. Lemons are thinly sliced. Thyme leaves are stripped off their stems. As I mix the marinade, the kitchen is suffused with aroma of lemon and thyme. Chicken is doused in the marinade and left to macerate for twenty four hours. I forget about it and go about my business.

LEMON THYME ROAST CHICKEN
Serves 4

8-10 pieces Chicken legs and thighs
3 tablespoons Galliano liqueur 
1 cup Orange Juice
3 tablespoons whole grain Mustard
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
4 tablespoons Thyme
3 tablespoons Fennel seed
1 Lemon
1 Onion
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Olive oil


Wash and dry chicken pieces. Trim off visible fat.

Whisk Galliano, orange juice, mustard and sugar.



Strip thyme leaves off the stems and chop roughly. Add to marinade.

Lightly crush fennel seeds and add to marinade.

Season marinade with salt and pepper.

Cut lemon into thin slices.



Slice onion into thin wedges.

Put chicken, onions and lemon slices into a glass container and pour marinade over it.



Drizzle olive oil over chicken.

Cover and marinate chicken overnight.

Heat oven to 450F.

Remove chicken from marinade and place skin side up on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Save the marinade.

Roast chicken in oven for 35-40 minutes till skin is golden brown and crispy.



Pour marinade in a saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for 5-8 minutes.

Serve chicken with cooked down marinade as gravy on the side.




NOTES

The chicken tastes best just out of the oven. If you need to make it earlier, then reheat the pieces in a hot (400F) oven for 5-8 minutes.

The original recipe called for fennel and clementines. I love the flavor of charred lemon so that worked for me.

Try to use nonstick aluminum foil. Cooked chicken slides off the foil in a jiffy with very little mess.




The kitchen is engulfed with the delicious aroma of roasting chicken and lemons. I peek at the chicken with much anticipation!! The skin, crisp and caramelized, is studded with mustard seems and fennel. Roasted alongside carrots, the chicken splutters and sizzles. Soon its time to plate up a mound of bronzed legs and thighs. Crisp roasted carrots flank the meat. The omnipresent tomato and parsley salad accompanies our meal. A convivial silence pervades the table as we slice and dice. The chicken is so very moist. A knife seems superfluous as the meat gives easily. Roasting chicken with the skin on, is today's lesson. This recipe gets a vigorous nod of approval. As G stuffs his mouth,  he mumbles that he can't stop eating the chicken. And the carrots too!! I will post the carrot recipe in the near future. It is another keeper!